Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Sophy's Amazing Answer to the Question: "Why do I run?"

Why do I call myself a running mom?  Well, seems I’ve always been running, mostly away from things.  As a middle child in a very competitive set of six kids, I often felt left out or forgotten.  So I’d temporarily runaway.  OK, I hid away from everybody else and took off to daydream.  As a result, I developed a drive to be independent and different from everyone else in my family.

I hated the used bike my sister had to share with me, so one Christmas, I saved up all my money to buy my own bike.  It was way too little.  But I found out that I could buy a unicycle with what I had, so I did.  I learned to ride it and became a fixture in my inner city neighborhood as that “kid on a unicycle” running errands.

Being the third girl attending parochial school, I often had the misfortune of being “another one” from that family.  So when it came time to pick out a high school, I chose a local one that I could walk to and break away from the sigma of my older sisters.  Running again, up the hill to school, and down again every day.  I made it through four years without a single tardy slip.

The continuous competition at home drove me to distraction.  So during my high school years I ran away from it through school activities, volunteer work and Junior Achievement. I was running away from my life at home.

I tried to run as a sport on my own during high school, but with no instruction, no school team, and neighborhoods I didn’t even like to walk through around me, it didn’t last long.  I had injured myself chasing after a bus and pulled my groin muscle badly.  At the local junior college I decided to take up weight lifting as a way to rehab it.  The coach suggested I try cross-country, so I did.  At the time I didn’t know the women’s cross country team needed more members.  I just signed up and ran!

I learned how to pick a shoe.  I learned about form.  I learned to run a seven-minute-mile.  OK, I couldn’t run more than five miles, but I learned to run as a sport.  I loved it.  It didn’t last.  When the season was over, I did some paid runs.  But in the early 80’s it was all about the competition.  I wasn’t fast enough to be competitive.  Then again taking two or three busses to and from runs wasn’t easy.  Nor was running with my sweats in a pack very comfortable.  I never checked my gear out of fear it would disappear.  So I ran away from running too.

At age 21, I moved away from home.  Just a few blocks for my first apartment, but I was out!  I had a job and was independent.  Ten years later, I married my long-time boyfriend.  Ten years after that and in our third apartment, we finally had our son.  To give him a better life than what we could afford in the big city, we moved to Elk Grove.  The ultimate runaway!  I became a home-mom.  Shortly after moving here, I discovered an ad for an inaugural 4th of July run that celebrated the incorporation of my new hometown.  I signed up and was instantly reconnected with running.

I joined a running group and got introduced to relay running.  Got hooked and continued that for six years.  Next I got hooked on distance running.   Now I’ve got half a dozen half marathons completed and have my goal set on a full 26.2 mile marathon.  I assist with my son’s track team at his school and chase the kids around the field shouting encouragement.  I’ve running friends who inspire and motivate me.  I run for “me” time where I don’t have to answer to anyone or make any decisions except how far and where I am running.

And my 11-year-old son…he wants to run a half marathon with me before he turns 13.  I am a running mom.

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